Understanding Resilience and Protective Factors among Released Offenders

Project Abstract

Offender reentry has continuously attracted the attention of criminal justice professionals, as approximately 650,000 offenders are being released from prison or jail per year. After incarceration, released offenders encounter a myriad of challenges that prohibit successful transition into the community. Research has focused on the risk factors that contribute to recidivism, rather than protective factors that contribute to desistance. Existing research has relied on several theories to explain the causes of desistance. This study is guided by the Ecological Systems Theory and the Transtheoretical Model. With research suggesting that individual subjective factors and social factors are essential to the desistance process, this study seeks to identify protective and resilience factors that encourage desistance. I hypothesized that individual factors such as readiness to change, coping skills, and identity transformation will be positively associated with desistance. Additionally, I hypothesized that family and peer relationships will be positively associated with desistance. Lastly, it is expected that higher adaptive coping skills will be associated with desistance. To test these hypotheses, participants will complete an online survey that measures identity transformation, criminal attitudes, readiness/motivation to change, coping skills, social support, and strength of their social support.

Funding Type

Research Grant

Academic College

College of Humanities and Fine Arts


Clinical Psychology


Master's of Science




Esther Malm

Academic College

College of Humanities and Fine Arts

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